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The TCM "library"


BenHere
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I know that TCM doesn't actually have a library anymore. And that all films, including MGM films, are leased. I'm also pretty sure that this has been discussed elsewhere but I'm having trouble finding the pertinent thread(s). So, I'm looking for pointers to threads, or other sources of info, that clearly lay out what studio libraries (and the years covered) TCM has long-term agreements with, as well as shorter-term agreements. I'm especially curious to know how TCM deals with 20th Century-Fox (one film at a time? small packages of films?). I can find brief mentions of various arrangements but no thorough summary of TCM's access to major and minor studio libraries. Thanks in advance for any input anyone can provide.

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> {quote:title=rbfrys wrote:}{quote}

> I know that TCM doesn't actually have a library anymore.

 

That is wrong. We have proved conclusively that the old Turner Film Library still exists, and it's in Atlanta. One of the Turner film librarians talked about the film library and how fast they could put together an all-day "salute" to some actor who dies suddenly, because of that in-house library, and she introduced one of the films during Employee Month on TCM.

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> {quote:title=rbfrys wrote:}{quote}

> So, I'm looking for pointers to threads, or other sources of info, that clearly lay out what studio libraries (and the years covered) TCM has long-term agreements with, as well as shorter-term agreements. I'm especially curious to know how TCM deals with 20th Century-Fox (one film at a time? small packages of films?). I can find brief mentions of various arrangements but no thorough summary of TCM's access to major and minor studio libraries. Thanks in advance for any input anyone can provide.

 

SEE THIS, posted by TCMWebAdmin on Sep 18, 2007 10:31 AM:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/message.jspa?messageID=7998316#7998316

 

"Below is an explanation of the films in our library.

 

The Turner library holdings consist of the pre-1986 MGM library, the pre-1949 Warner Brothers library, and the entire RKO library.

 

Turner Entertainment Co. Film Library:

 

1,707 MGM Feature Films (1915-1986)

854 Warner Bros. Feature Films (1924-1949)

787 RKO Feature Films (1929-1958)

948 MGM Short Subjects

320 MGM Cartoons

1,450 Warner Bros. Short Subjects

335 Warner Bros. Cartoons

51 RKO Short Subjects

 

Universal controls its own films, plus the pre-1949 Paramount talkies.

 

Paramount controls its own films from 1949 to the present, and all of its silent features.

 

Warner Brothers controls its own films from 1949 to the present, plus some independently produced films.

 

20th Century Fox controls its own films, plus the libraries of its pre-1935 corporate elements, the Fox Film Corporation and 20th Century Pictures, Inc.

 

The newly-created corporate entity Sony/MGM probably controls both the entire Columbia/Tristar library and the MGM library from 1986 to the present.

 

United Artists is a bit difficult to determine, because they distributed independent films in addition to producing their own films. I'm guessing that they have the rights to the latter, and not the former. Before merging with MGM in 1979, they controlled the pre-1949 Warners Brothers library"

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As usual, I'm always impressed with how somebody here steps up with solid information.

 

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> I believe this 2007 explanation is out of date.

 

You may be right but Fred's repost is certainly a good place to start.

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The 2007 post is NOT out of date. Just last month, Mr. Osborne interviewed TCM's film librarian Megan Buckle-Robinson, and she said that the reason TCM is able to quickly put together a salute to famous actors and directors, just a couple of weeks after they die, is because the TCM film librarians can pull films out of TCM's own film library and put them on the air.

 

The TCM film library still exists, and rumors that it was sold off to or delivered over to Warner Brothers years ago are FALSE. The actual celluloid films themselves are probably stored in a salt mine in Kansas, along with other old studio films, but TCM's copies of the films in TCM's film library are, and have always been, on video tape and other kinds of digital media.

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Finance,

 

Sorry for the delay. I am at the TCM Film Festival.

 

This afternoon there was a panel discussion featuring some of the staff of TCM including Charlie Tabesh, Senior VP of Programming, who has been with the channel for 14 years.

 

During the Q&A a first-time attendee asked about the film library.

 

Charlie replied: "We have to rent all the films we show. At one time we owned the Turner Film Library and that leads to a great deal of confusion because we no longer own that library. That is now owned by Time-Warner and administered by Warner Brothers."

 

"In the beginning, the channel depended upon the Turner film library but we realized that, in order to grow, we would have to establish relationships with the other studios as well so we could expand."

 

"Today, we have relationships with most of the studios and as well as Warner Brothers. We have to rent the films from our former library through Warner Brothers but we now have limited access to the rest of their library as well."

 

So, while TCM no longer owns a film library they do have a library that consists of films that they have licensed from the various film studios to broadcast. This makes the library ever changing as the terms of the contracts range from short range to long range.

 

They can access these films for "Memoriam" film tributes and "In Memoriam" spots and also helps explain why those tributes and spots don't always include a star's most iconic work.

 

Hope this helps!

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The Ted Turner film library is still in Atlanta, and that's what Mr. Osborne and the Librarian talked about when she was on TCM last month introducing a movie. That's what TCMWebAdmin has talked about whenever he has posted on this board, such as here:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/message.jspa?messageID=7998316#7998316

 

"Below is an explanation of the films in our library.

 

The Turner library holdings consist of the pre-1986 MGM library, the pre-1949 Warner Brothers library, and the entire RKO library.

 

Turner Entertainment Co. Film Library:

 

1,707 MGM Feature Films (1915-1986)

854 Warner Bros. Feature Films (1924-1949)

787 RKO Feature Films (1929-1958)

948 MGM Short Subjects

320 MGM Cartoons

1,450 Warner Bros. Short Subjects

335 Warner Bros. Cartoons

51 RKO Short Subjects"

 

---

 

The financial arrangement now is evidently that TCM, owned by Time-Warner, has to pay some kind of fee to another branch of Time-Warner for each airing of films from TCM's own film library.

 

The reason we see films from other film libraries now is because TCM finally had to begin renting many other films from other studios because, if you total up the feature films in the TCM film library, listed above, the original library is made up of only 3,348 feature films from MGM, Warner Bros., and RKO.

 

That seemed like a whole lot of films back in 1994, but TCM airs about 12 feature films each day, and at the rate of 12 per day times 365 days in a year, that is 4,380 films per year that TCM must air. Which means TCM would have to begin re-airing all the films in its original Turner Film Library every 9 months, if it had access only to that original library.

 

In fact, this is what TCM did in the earliest years after it first went on the air. But after a few years of this, the people at TCM realized, as Mr. Tabesh said in this statement: "In the beginning, the channel depended upon the Turner film library but we realized that, in order to grow, we would have to establish relationships with the other studios as well so we could expand." And that is why TCM began renting films from other studios and other film distributors, such as Disney, Fox, Universal, Kino, etc.

 

This was confirmed in an interview with Mr. Osborne in 2010, when he said: "We do lease some packages of other films. We're always introducing movies we haven't shown before," Osborne says. "The selection always looks fresh. We don't want TCM to be a museum where nothing ever changes."

 

November 10, 2010

 

http://www.expressmilwaukee.com/article-12895-robert-osborne-talk-about-a-classic.html

 

---

 

Mr. Turner said this about the Turner Film Library in an interview in 2008:

 

http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/1417-EXCLUSIVE-INTERVIEW-WITH-TURNER-MOVIE-CLASSICS-HOST-ROBERT-OSBORNE.html

 

"RO: Yes, and one I'm particularly excited about is Wings which is the first movie to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture. We're also showing the first Lord of the Rings movie. So we're covering the Oscars from the first year right up into the 2000s. Older films make up the bulk of our library and are the strength of our library, but we bring in new films to keep the schedule fresh."

 

---

 

"RO: Certainly, no one is doing it with the interstitials that we have and the presentations that we have and the extensive library that we have. It's so essential to see films without commercial breaks and interruptions."

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Can't keep the libraries straight without a scorecard..

 

When these films keep turning up on the air frequently, remember they are from the RKO collection in the Turner Film Library. All the librarian in Atlanta has to do is walk down the hallway, open the door, and take them off a shelf:

 

Bringing Up Baby

Gunga Din

Citizen Kane

Suspicion

Kitty Foyle

Swing Time

Follow the Fleet

Sylvia Scarlett

Top Hat

Rafter Romance

King Kong

I Remember Mama

Murder My Sweet

Cat People

Five Came Back

A Man To Remember

The Informer

Of Human Bondage

Flying Down to Rio

Holiday Affair

They Live By Night

Blood on the Moon

Rachel and the Stranger

Susan Slept Here

She Couldn't Say No

The French Line

Angel Face

Clash By Night

The Narrow Margin

On Dangerous Ground

All Mine To Give

Bundle of Joy

Back From Eternity

The Las Vegas Story

His Kind of Woman

Flying Leathernecks

Walk Softly, Stranger

Where Danger Lives

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The Turner Film Library is still very active and is much in use at TCM.

 

"Royal Wedding", which just aired tonight, is from Turner's MGM Film Library. The Nostradamus short, just aired, is from Turner's MGM Film Library. The Andy Hardy series, that is shown so often on TCM, is from Turner's MGM Film Library. Later tonight, "The Glass Slipper" (1955) is from the Turner MGM Film Library, and after that "The Swan" (1956) is from the Turner MGM Film Library. And after that " The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg" (1927) is from the Turner MGM Film Library.

 

And if these films look a little familiar, they are from the MGM collection of the Turner Film Library in Atlanta:

 

North by Northwest

Ben Hur (1959)

Doctor Zhivago

Meet Me in St. Louis

King of Kings

Gigi

The Wizard of Oz

Gone With the Wind

Father of the Bride

Father's Little Dividend

Lust for Life

Ninotchka

The Women

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Bhowani Junction

The Goodbye Girl

National Velvet

Executive Suite

Million Dollar Mermaid

Jupiter's Darling

Dangerous When Wet

The Bad and the Beautiful

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Bad Day at Black Rock

Gaslight

The White Cliffs of Dover

Butterfield 8

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Network

Jailhouse Rock

The Sunshine Boys

Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969)

The Legend of Lylah Clare

The Dirty Dozen

Grand Prix

The Cincinnati Kid

Show Boat (1951)

The Hill

The Americanization of Emily

The Night of the Iguana

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Viva Las Vegas

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)

How the West Was Won

Lolita

Where the Boys Are

King Solomon's Mines (1950)

The Asphalt Jungle

Nancy Goes to Rio

On The Town

Battleground

Neptune's Daughter

Little Women (1949)

Easter Parade

Courage of Lassie

Lassie Come Home

The Harvey Girls

They Were Expendable

The Picture of Dorian Gray

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